10: Zero Wing

No this is not a joke, while this IS the game that had such horrible translation to start the whole "All your base are belong to us" fad, this is STILL a solid scrolling shooter with a nice deal of powerups, a TON of different levels, and even more bosses. The storyline is actually pretty good if you can decipher the horribly translated cut scenes and menus, but overall the action is non stop, and the level variety keeps the boredom factor pretty low. If you like the Gradius games or the R-Type games, then this one is a definite winner. Please, look past the Engrish Transration Plobrems, and play this great scrolling shooter.

9: Shining Force

Pfft, Final Fantasy Tactics? Who cares when you have Shining Force! Shining force is a grid-based, turn-based strategy RPG. This game combines some of the best elements from the early Final Fantasy games with a new strategic movement and attacking system. The storyline is very generic for an RPG, but it doesn't take away from the great gameplay. The learning curve is a bit steep but once you get into the swing of things, the battles just get more and more intense, which kept me coming back for more. Some battles were outrageously hard, but when you beat them, the satisfaction (after smashing a couple controllers) is so sweet. The variety of characters you'll enroll in your fleet, and the numerous spells and attacks you can get will keep the game changing and challenging. This one is a great pickup if you like RPG's, and even if you don't I would STILL recommend it because you might be surprised at how fun this genre can be.

8: Valis

The original Valis game could easily be viewed as extremely corny, but personally I found the gameplay quite exciting. The controls are simple and the storyline is obviously Anime inspired, if you couldn't already tell from the cutscenes. The spells/special attack system is pretty nifty. When you beat one of the bosses, you will gain it's main attack, and you can use it on other bosses, which some are weak to. This is very reminiscent of the Mega Man series, but the gameplay is vastly different. This game has platformer elements, with the jumping and running, but the action kicks in with the sword and slide tackles. The enemies are pretty basic with just patrol and shoot, but it can still get pretty difficult. The storyline is good for you Anime fans, and it's even fairly entertaining for non-Anime fans! The only drawback is that the cut scenes can get pretty long, and some levels are insanely difficult. Either way, if you can find this one (not Valis III) then pick it up.

7: Sonic The Hedgehog

Okay, I had to add it, no matter how cliche. This is the first game I ever played when my dad first bought the SEGA Genesis. It had simplistic gameplay, but the colorful sprites and environments lured me in for more. Oh and of course the "Hold in A, Press Up, Down, Left, Right" level select cheat which helped me beat the game without collecting a single chaos emerald and get the crap ending, but either way, this game was a pioneer mainly because it was the first game to slap Mario across the face with a monkey wrench and say "Hey, guess what, I have better graphics, music, and sprites, so SUCK IT!" Which is good, because even though I love the NES and SNES, Mario's reign over consoles and fanboys around the world needed to be usurped. Sonic came in with his easy gameplay and variety of enemies and levels to take out Mario and take over the platformer genre. Of course, whether he succeeded or not is up to debate, considering Mario is still alive and kicking, but the bottom line is that Sonic is a must have, and if you can get it, get the "Not For Resale" version that originally came with the Sega Genesis.

6: Streets of Rage

If you're a fan of Final Fight or the Ninja Turtle games on the NES, then this game will take everything from those games and punch it in the face three times and spin kick it off screen. Streets of Rage is one of the best beat-em-up games of all time. You can choose from 3 characters to throw out beatings. Each character has a special attack which can dish out some real damage to the enemies on screen and more importantly the bosses. This game throws in classic arcade gameplay, such as the pickups, like apples, chicken, lead pipes, knives, and all kinds of other weapons and goodies. The score keeping makes you feel like you're at a coin-op machine, which is one of the best parts of this game. It's real arcade action in your living room, or bedroom, or computer, or wherever you have it, either way the extremely varied level and lack of an established storyline (Who is Mr. X?) makes the arcade feeling authentic. Another great game to "invite a friend" for. Find this game, buy it, and call your best friend to bash some heads in!

5: Rocket Knight Adventures

Why hasn't Konami made a new version of this game? This is by far my favorite Konami game on any console! Yes I know they made Castlevania and Metal Gear, but come on! This game has all the pieces a good action platformer needs. Swords that shoot beams, jetpacks, possums, pigs, missiles, interplanetary travel, and 1ups! You play as Sparkster, a rocket knight in blue armor who has to save the king and queen of his kingdom that have been kidnapped by the evil pig lord! You will travel through many brightly colored and expertly sprited levels with an array of characters and gameplay styles. There are many puzzle sequences and thought provoking levels. For example, there is one level where there is rising and lowering lava which will kill you instantly and there will be areas which look like you can't get across, but if you look in the reflection of the lava, platforms are hidden behind foreground crystals! The little things they add in make this game a winner. The Mech on Mech fight is by far one of the COOLEST action sequences in any game on the Genesis. I don't want to spoil much more, so the point I want to get across is that this game is the highest quality platformer you will find on the Genesis, and the only reason it's in the #5 spot is because I can't tie it for second place.

4: Contra: Hard Corps

Yes, another Contra game on my lists, but its an excellent series, and this installment is no exception. This has your standard Contra game storyline, some kind of evil presence is invading and you have to stop it, but the cool thing in this game is that you can choose from 4 different characters. There is a wolf character who has his weapon mounted to his arm, a male human that looks very much like the original "Contra Guy", a female character, and Browny, the robot who is so short, standard enemy bullets go over his head! The bosses in this game are just as intense as in any other Contra, but they are less organic and bloody than in the other games and tend to lean towards robotic enemies. Even with these changes the game maintains solid action platforming while throwing in the new weapon selections and shooting styles to spice it up. If you can get your dirty retro loving hands on a copy of this game, don't hesitate to shell out your money for it!

3: Herzog Zwei

This game's German name may confuse you, but the literal translation is Duke 2. This game is one of the first real-time strategy games I have ever seen on a console. This game is based around building units with predetermined orders, such as attack base or invade base, or even stationary defense. These commands are picked before construction and are dictated by a symbol, sorry no text. Money is gained per second and depends on how many bases you control. The whole objective is to get as many of your units to the enemy bases so you can take out their main base and end the round, but there's a twist. You also play as yourself. You are an airplane that can take out your enemy in the air, or you can transform into a land-walking mech that can take out your enemy AND his units! This unique addition to the standard RTS gameplay makes this game an EXCELLENT "Challenge a friend" game. There is a fairly average variety of different units, but in the levels with rivers and lakes, you can use boats and such, whereas normally you don't have access to these units. The menus and levels are a little hard to navigate because of the German, but if I could figure it out when I was 6, I think you can figure it out now. This one you might not be able to find, but if you can I definitely recommend it.

2: Golden Axe II

The original Golden Axe game was really good, but the second one improved on the sprites, magic attacks, and overall design. While Golden Axe II is still a simple hack-and-slash game, it is undoubtedly one of the best multi-player action games on the Genesis. The few characters you get to choose from are still nice and varied so you have a reason to choose different heroes. The swordsman still focuses on earth based magic, while the Amazon sticks to her fire and dragons. The dwarf is still the thunder god, and together these heroes can really hand out a beating. The levels can get a bit on the repetitive sometimes, especially towards the end when you're fighting the same bosses with a palette swap, but in the end the overall satisfaction of playing through is worth it.

1: Gunstar Heroes

If you haven't played this one, it's time to do some eBay searching. This is one of the most action packed games on the Genesis. There is a unique weapons combination system that allows you to choose which weapons will do you better for the next area of the game. The "Chaser" allows your weapons to home in on enemies and also take out multiple enemies. The storyline is fairly simple, with the bosses all named after colors, such as Orange, Green, and Black. They have stolen some important gems which you need to get back to save the world. Don't let the generic storyline sway your views on this game, the levels are varied, some are pretty complex (the Dice Dungeon is great!), and the final boss fights will challenge you pretty well. Overall I would have to say that this is the best game that you and a friend can play through with the even better 2 Player mode.